When surveying teachers about their biggest struggle when it comes to teaching I kept getting the same answer over and over, the afternoon. Everything gets harder for students and teachers once the afternoon starts. The kids have no stamina left, the teachers are burnt out, and the learning is just rough. In this blog post, I am going to share a few ideas on how to make the afternoon just a little bit easier. Try one or two out and see what happens!
Are you teaching any subjects in centers? If you are, put them in the afternoon. The natural moving around of centers just helps the afternoon go quicker and with less dread. Teaching math in centers (read about that here) is a great way to get your content in during the crazy time, but also keep your kids moving around.
Schedule a brain break every 30 minutes. Whether that be allowing kids to go to the bathroom, putting on a GoNoodle, or playing a game. Make sure you SCHEDULE brain breaks in the afternoon. If it isn’t part of your schedule you might not do it and then you will leave the day wondering how and why you got so burnt out.
Art or Science
Friday afternoons are worse than any other afternoon (for obvious reasons) so schedule your science class during this time. Teachers and students love science because it is hands-on and fun, so do it at a time when the less exciting things are hard to accomplish. You can even add directed drawings or other art lessons in there too!
I highly recommend having silent reading time in the classroom. I do not think it is possible for a student to leave your classroom loving to read without silent reading time. Silent reading time is when students get to read what they want, not what is assigned to them. Putting silent reading time right after lunch and recess gives students time to decompress and it allows you time to get yourself together for the afternoon. Even if it is just 10 minutes, it can make all the difference!
Take a Walk
Having a rough afternoon? Get your kids outside! Grab books and walk somewhere to read, take the assignment you had planned and do it out on the playground, or do a tough assignment and reward them with a non-educational walk.
Something Just for the Teacher
What can you do just for yourself in the afternoon? Could it be brewing your favorite coffee to enjoy? Having one piece of chocolate you get to look forward to? What habit or routine could make your afternoons just a tad bit more enjoyable for you? Do that!